The Last Movie VHS
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The Last Movie is a 1971 drama film from Universal Pictures. It was written and directed by Dennis Hopper, who also played a horse wrangler named after the state of Kansas. It also starred Peter Fonda, Henry Jaglom and Michelle Phillips. Production of the movie, which cost $1 million, took place in the film's major setting, Peru.
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ALSO - the final cut prior to sound mixing and preparation of the release version was more linear and approachable for mainstream audiences and conformed with the original script. At the very last moment Dennis decided to remove the entire ending and place it at the beginning, befitting of his fondness for abstract expression. If you find it hard to put it together in your head, watching it twice reveals the original storyline more clearly. Much like viewing any abstract artwork over and over.
Hopper loved abstract art and collected it all his life. THE LAST MOVIE is completely opposite the linear brilliance of EASY RIDER. Yes, it is confusing. Yes, it is jumbled up. Yes, it either makes little sense or is senseless throughout. Yes, it cannot hold a candle to EASY RIDER.
But having said all that, the film has its own flashes of brilliant lightening illumining its convoluted landscape. If the movie is confusing (which it most certainly is) then so is Life itself. If it is jumbled (which it is), then so is Life itself. If it is baffling and hard-to-figure-out, so is Life itself. Perhaps this was what Hopper's intent was: to make a movie about how movies have dominated not only Western culture, but it also shows film's seductive powers in the effects on the Peruvian village where Hollywood has just shot a Western, packs up and leaves. Hopper, a wrangler and stuntman, on the film-within-a-film stays behind and has his world turned upside down by the dichotomy between the real and the unreal. The movie shuns linear story-telling for a vertical form - and succeeds at this rather admirably.
SPOILER ALERT; The closing scene sums it all up. Don Gordon's character is talking about searching for gold in the Peruvian mountains to the Hopper character - and all his knowledge about finding gold, panning for it has come from the movie TREAURE OF SIERRA MADRE. For better or for worse, movies have dominated our lives and our learning.
This film is a noble attempt to create an abstract artwork in filmic form. While it does not succeed all that greatly, it is a great thing that Hopper at least tried to do something totally different with the canvas which was his film and the colors which were his characters and the beauty of the Peruvian scenery.
Now that Dennis Hopper has sadly left us, it would be sadder still if this movie were never released on DVD. We can hope!
For one afternoon Cinema One was my living room.
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It showed his style,his art,the creative artist that he was,and will forever be.Read more